While there are many things that can cause irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), intolerance or sensitivity to certain foods is a common cause. Even if this does not apply to you, making dietary changes is an effective way to reduce or eliminate the symptoms of IBS. Here are a few simple changes you can make to your diet that can result in a reduction of IBS flare ups.
Eat Smaller Meals
Eating a large amount of food in one setting can put a strain on the gastrointestinal tract. For people with IBS, this can lead to cramping and diarrhea. Break up your three large meals into six smaller ones. In addition to making it easier for your digestive system to handle the food, you will maintain a stable energy level throughout the day.
Eliminate Trigger Foods
Certain foods stimulate the intestines and aggravate irritable bowel syndrome symptoms. Caffeinated products like coffee and tea, coconut milk, and chocolate can all induce unpleasant bouts of diarrhea. Wheat, barley, and rye contain gluten, a compound that many people may unknowingly be allergic to. Other foods that can trigger a flare up are: artificial sweeteners and fats, dairy products, fried foods, red meat, egg yolks, and poultry skin and dark meat.
Eat More Fiber
For those that suffer from reoccurring bouts of constipation, increasing your fiber intake can get things moving again. Fiber absorbs water, which prevents stools from becoming too hard to pass. It also causes the colon to become slightly distended which can prevent spasms. For good health, you should eat a minimum of 15 grams of fiber per day. Be aware, though, that you may initially experience an increase in gas and bloating. These symptoms should pass as your body adjusts.
Good sources of fiber: brown rice, beans, figs, oat bran, oatmeal, pasta, prunes, fibrous vegetables like celery, raisins, and soy.
Limit Gas Producing Foods
If you have a problem with bloating and gas, then you may want to cut back on or completely eliminate gas-producing foods. Beans are the most common offenders, but certain vegetables can also produce gas, such as cabbage and broccoli. Milk can acerbate IBS symptoms if you are lactose intolerant. Eliminating all products that contain lactose for two weeks can help you determine if this is the case for you.
Try a Low-Fat High-Protein Diet
Everyone’s physiology is different, and some people find controlling their IBS is easier when they follow a low-fat, high-protein diet. The suggested recommendations for this type of diet are: 20% healthy fats, 30 to 35% protein, and 45-50% carbohydrates. Most of the carbohydrates you consume should be complex like whole grains and vegetables.
Try a Gluten-Free Diet
For some people, their IBS symptoms may be the result of an allergy to gluten. When they eat a product containing this substance, their immune system’s response to the allergen causes damage to the small intestine, leading to IBS-like symptoms. Eliminating foods that contain gluten may reduce flare ups. You want to avoid eating product containing barley, rye, triticale, and wheat. Become an expert at reading food labels and only buy products you know are gluten-free.
In addition to following an IBS diet, you can use safe and all-natural over-the-counter medications to help you manage your irritable bowel syndrome symptoms. We looked all over the place and found a few products that may help alleviate IBS symptoms without unpleasant side effects.